Friday, March 16, 2018

Personalism and the philosophy of religion

Randy Auxier has posted to his page a paper, "God as Catholic and Personal," HERE.  The paper is part of an International Philosophical Quarterly issue that is Festschrift to Fordham's W. Norris Clarke, S.J. Of note is that Clarke himself appears in the issue as does James W. Felt, another Jesuit friendly to process metaphysics from a neo-Thomistic perspective.

I found the paper particularly interesting for a number of reasons. Readers of After Nature will know that for the majority of my philosophical career (until very recently, in fact) I have taught for Catholic institutions while wrestling with the creation of a process panentheist "neoclassical" metaphysical system, not at all unconducive to neo-Thomism and the metaphysics of Whitehead/Hartshorne alike. Only very recently, around the time I left Immaculata (read about that HERE) and moved to Moravian did I really shift my energies to the creation of a new system which I have been referring to as "speculative naturalism."

Personalism, I think, could certainly use an update to its metaphysical perspective, an update that looks more like "agentialism" in the sense that it could be expanded to include non-human persons mutually recognized as autonomous "agencies" not much different from, or perhaps even equal to, human agencies in most or all respects.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ethics in Homer’s “Odyssey” Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part Two) (Podcast link)

Second part of this exceptionally good podcast episode.

Continuing with Emily Wilson on her translation of the Greek epic poem. 
We discuss the value of the oikos, or estate, built on violence, with slaves rewarded for loyalty and killed for preferring a different master. These estates were brought into military alliances through xenia, or hospitality, which you should definitely extend to any gods-disguised-as-beggars that come around, but if actual beggars stop by, then by all means beat them! (So this is not like the Christian "love thy neighbor.") 
We focus in on how status differences play into the text, not only between slaves and masters, but men and women, gods and mortals, and "civilized" people and others. Finally, are the gods even necessary for the story? Do they maybe just represent inner characteristics of the characters, or what else could be going on?
Link HERE.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Podcast interview with Ray Brassier

Ect. 9 podcast interviewed Ray Brassier recently, where you can find the link HERE or downloadable mp3 file, HERE. This is a recent interview, published February 11th, 2018, so you'll hear some of Ray's more current thoughts about his work.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Ethics in Homer’s “Odyssey” Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part One) (Podcast link)

New Partially Examined Life podcast on ethics in Homer's "Odyssey."

Episode 185: Ethics in Homer's "Odyssey" Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part One)
// The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

On the classic Greek epic poem, written ca. 750 BC and translated by our guest Emily Wilson in 2018. Does this story of "heroes" have anything to teach us about ethics? Wilson wrote an 80-page introduction to her new translation laying out the issues, including "hospitality" as a political tool, the value for status and identity of one's home (including your family and slaves), and the tension between strangeness and familiarity. Can time and change really be undone? Don't wait for part 2! Get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Voyager Spacecraft: Beyond the Solar System (Space dot com)

This was a major thing while I was growing up, and still is (for some), today. Check out Voyager's accomplishments though. Amazing.

Voyager Spacecraft: Beyond the Solar System

NASA's twin probes are going where no one has gone before.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

‘All there is today is a lack of the All.’ (John Milbank)

Centre of Theology and Philosophy with John Milbank.

'All there is today is a lack of the All.'

John James Audubon, "Ruby-throated Humming Bird" from Birds of America:


John Milbank's essay, 'The All: A philosophico-political polemic' is now available to read online at The Immanent Frame, as part of their special project 'Is this all there is'.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ethics of the Umwelt

Morten Tønnessen has posted an interesting paper (book chapter, it appears to be) on his page. Below is the abstract and then the link.

"Umwelt Ethics"
In this paper I will sketch an Umwelt ethics, i.e., an ethics that rests heavily on fundamental features of Jakob von Uexküll’s Umwelt theory. In the course of an interpretation of the Umwelt theory, a number of concepts are introduced. These include ontological niche, common-Umwelt, total Umwelt and bio-ontological monad. I then present an Uexküllian reading of the deep ecology platform. It is suggested that loss of biodiversity, considered as a physio-phenomenal entity, is the most crucial aspect of the ecological crisis,which can be understood as an ontological crisis.

Link HERE.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bergson and Phenomenology (NDPR Review)

Michael R. Kelly (ed.), Bergson and Phenomenology, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 277pp., $85.00, ISBN 9780230202382.

Reviewed by Alexandre Lefebvre, The University of Sydney

A special kind of unhappiness marks Henri Bergson's relationship to phenomenology: that of being dismissed by a tradition that has largely absorbed him. This is, at least, how Merleau-Ponty put it in late in his career:
If we had been careful readers of Bergson, and if more thought had been given to him, we would have been drawn to a much more concrete philosophy… . It is quite certain that Bergson, had we read him carefully, would have taught us things that ten or fifteen years later we believed to be discoveries made by the philosophy of existence itself.
Thus, to show the contemporary relevance of Bergson for phenomenology, a different strategy is required than, say, rehabilitation (which would be necessary in analytical philosophy) or introduction (which would be the case in political philosophy). Instead, dialogue is called for to stage an encounter which has, in a sense, continually taken place and been consistently avoided. The virtue of Michael R. Kelly's volume is not only to have reconstructed debates between Bergson and classical phenomenologists but, more importantly, to propose a Bergsonian contribution to such central phenomenological topics as subjectivity, time, embodiment, nothingness, life, and freedom.

Full review HERE, page version of the review HERE.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Twelth Biennial Personalist Seminar: C.S PEIRCE AND ROBERT CORRINGTON JULY 24-28 Western Carolina University


JULY 24-28

Western Carolina University

About 15-25 participants

Program Structure
The program will center around the Ecstatic Naturalism of Robert Corrington and the thought of C.S. Peirce, with separate days devoted to different aspects of their work. The first day will introduce the group to Ecstatic Naturalism and Peirce and the background in their contexts. These discussions will be led by Robert S. Corrington, Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Philosophical Theology at Drew University and Douglas Anderson, Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of North Texas. The remaining days each participant will be responsible for a specific text and/or aspect, or present a paper on Corrington’s thought and/or Pierce and will help lead that part of the discussion.

Submit a title and brief (no more than one page) summary of your interest in the seminar’s subjects.  Accepted projects will receive between 60 and 90 minutes for presentation and discussion of the finished projects. Proposals should be sent to:Dr. James

Due Date:  June 15

The seminar will be held on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Cullowhee is located approximately 50 miles west of Asheville and sits near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, and several national forests which make up some of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States.

Lodging & Meals
Affordable on-campus accommodations are available in Madison Hall (the site of the meeting). These are standard residence hall rooms, but all have a private bath. Linen packets are included. On-campus stays include breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday.  Dinner is on your own.

Single Occupancy w/ meals = $308
Double Occupancy w/ meals = $258



Off campus lodging is available in area hotels.

Conference Registration
The conference registration fee is $50 (Paid separately).

For further information, contact Dr. James M. McLachlan, Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Phone 828-227-3940 or email

For questions about registration or accommodations contact Bobby Hensley, Associate Director of Continuing Education, at 828-227-7397 or email

Monday, February 19, 2018

Quote of the day

"In the presence of death reason and philosophy are silent."

- Ambrose Bierce